Top 5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Being an Entrepreneur

start a small businessStarting your own business is super-exciting. It is something that is challenging, fulfilling, and different than any thing you have probably done in your life.

Unlike other goals, there is not a clear “start” or “finish.” There is not a set path. You have to find one as you go along. This brings a lot of surprises and challenges on the way. In this post, I discuss the advantages of being an entrepreneur as well as the disadvantages.

Top Five Advantages of Being an Entrepreneur

Advantage #1: A flexible schedule – both in terms of when and where you work.

One of the best things and biggest advantages of being an entrepreneur is you can work from home, work from the office (if you have one), and work from virtually any destination with a great view and a glass of wine in your hand!

In the past year, I’ve been to Santorini, Greece, Venice + Rome + Florence in Italy, Quito in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Charleston S.C.,  Marco Island (a few times), and quite a few places in Michigan!  This would likely not occur if I had a “regular” job.

You can also choose when you work. If you want to stay up late, stay up late. If you want to get up early, get up early.  The flexibility of having your own business cannot be beat! It remains, in my opinion, as one of the best advantages of being an entrepreneur. It is hard to come by this amount of flexibility in any other job!

Advantage #2: You learn a lot!

Not just about your field, but about accounting, marketing, public speaking, website design, search engine optimization, how to delegate, how to take risks, how to be more creative and think about problems in other ways. And, importantly, how to fail, how to be rejected, and how to get back up on your feet anyway.

I have always been attracted to business because it seems like such a unique and diversified set of skills that are required to truly succeed. I have a law school prep and bar exam prep company – but knowing the law really well doesn’t pay the bills. It is the ten thousand things that go with it that does. Meaning . . . setting up a website, marketing, getting appointments with law schools, making stellar outlines, delegating when I can’t do it all and knowing who to delegate to.

This is one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur that I overlooked in the beginning. I figured I knew what I was doing and that even if I didn’t, I could figure it out without falling down too many times. But I was wrong. And very grateful for it.

Advantage #3: It’s exciting and fulfilling.

It is exciting to build something from the ground up. Especially when you love what you do. It is such a cool feeling to make something out of nothing. And it is so fun to hire awesome people to work for the company. And to have amazing clients, many of whom are not only paying customers, but also friends!

The ups and downs are neverending. It is never boring. It is my third year and I still have a rollercoasterish feeling when I start a new project or when we fulfill a new idea.

This is another one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur that I thought would disappear over time. So far, it hasn’t. It is just as exciting to own a business on Day 1000 that it was on Day 1.

Advantage #4: The salary makes sense.

When you make money, you get paid more. It is not an arbitrary number that you are being paid each year. And you don’t have to wait for someone to give you a raise.

You get to keep the profits. You pay the expenses. And if you are doing it right, this will end up being a good deal.

Advantage #5: You are viewed as a leader.

This increases confidence. People say “you have a brilliant business model” and all sorts of other compliments that are very nice. And to be honest, ones I am not sure I have truly earned. But it is a very nice side benefit!

For every advantage, there is a disadvantage. . .

Top Five Disadvantages of Being an Entrepreneur

Disadvantage #1: You wear a lot of hats. 

You are not just the owner of the company. You are the CEO, secretary, website designer, accountant, head of marketing, and janitor. That is, until you can afford to delegate this to contractors and employees. And then you take on the title of “employer” which, true, replaces some of these other titles, but also brings a whole new set of benefits and challenges to the table.

So true, while you learn a lot as an entrepreneur, it is because you do a lot. There is a lot to juggle at once. Which brings me to my next point  . . .

Disadvantage #2: You are always at work.

 It is true you can work from anywhere and at any time. But really that is because you are working everywhere at all times! I have heard it said that entrepreneurs “beat 9-5 to work 9-9.” There some truth to that. You are always on call and always doing something for the company. Even now, I am writing this from a lovely suite in bay city overlooking the water. . . . at 6:00 AM in my hotel-bathroom-counter-converted-into-makeshift-desk so that I do not awake my spouse! If you love what you do, then it does not seem so bad! (And in the end I think that is how entrepreneurs truly survive – believing in their vision and loving their work!)

But still, it is one of the exhausting parts of entrepreneurship that others may not readily see.

And this, of course, leads to the next disadvantage . . .

Disadvantage #3: Work-life balance becomes tricky and is sometimes non-existent.

Work-life balance becomes tricky. It is hard to draw a line between “work” and “life” when you work from home. When your office is not that-place-a-few-miles-away but is instead your bedroom, your living room, your room, your home office.

Your personal phone is your work phone (even if you have a work phone). Same with personal email. And personal time (remember, you are always on-call….).

 This doesn’t mean you can’t place limits on work-life balance. Or draw a line. Or not check your emails after 7:00. Or not work on Sunday mornings. And it is not to say it is not a challenge for other professions. (I distinctly remember having the same problem when I was a lawyer full time.) However, it does seem to be exaggerated for entrepreneurs.

Disadvantage #4: A non-regular paycheck can be scary. 

If your company doesn’t make money, you don’t make money. So in some ways while the salary is “rationale” – you get what you bring in – in other ways, it is not. Because you can work 50 hours a week and make nothing. This is both liberating and terrifying.

Disadvantage #5: You will feel a new kind of stress.

Entrepreneurial ventures can bring about a new kind of stress. Instead of an employee, you are responsible for all decisions. If you fail or succeed, customers, vendors, employees, and others are looking at you. So just as you can be looked at as a “leader” (Advantage 5 above), you can also be looked as a fool.

Stress can be heightened if you do not make a consistent income. Or if you don’t have health insurance. Or if you don’t feel your self-employment is especially “secure.”

In the end, like with any other job, there are advantages of being an entrepreneur and disadvantages. For me, the advantages of being an entrepreneur soundly outweigh the disadvantages. But not everyone agrees!!

It is wise to consider both if you are considering starting your own business!

Looking for more resources? Some other posts that may interest you are:

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Ashley-Heidemann-Profile-382x356
Ashley Heidemann scored over a 180 on the Michigan Bar Exam in February of 2011. She, as well as a team of tutors offer private one-on-one tutoring for bar exam students nationwide (including tutoring for the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and Multistate Essay Exam (MEE). She also offers small-group courses and seminars for the Michigan bar exam.  Please click here to contact her company, with any questions or to set up a tutoring session.

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